Niall Evalds commits long-term future to Castleford Tigers
Highly-rated Castleford Tigers full-back Niall Evalds has signed a new two-year contract and insisted: “There’s more to come from me and this side.”
Evalds, 27, joined from Salford Red Devils at the end of last season and has started his Wheldon Road career impressively, scoring three tries and providing five assists.
A member of Shaun Wane’s England squad preparing for the World Cup, Castleford fans will be delighted he is now secured for the long-term with a further year’s option also in the club’s favour.
“I’m very happy and delighted to get it all sorted,” said Evalds.
“Everyone has welcomed me with open arms from day one: that’s the playing staff, coaching staff and everyone that is involved with the club have been so welcoming to me and my family which meant a lot to us.
“Now it is up to me to repay that faith.”
On his own form, he added: “I started off pretty well but the last couple of games I’ve been a bit quiet so me and Powelly (Daryl Powell) have been working on how to involve myself more in the team and in the game.
“I think there is so much to improve on and build on.
“I don’t think the fans have seen the best of me yet, but I’ll improve as we get our combinations right.
“To say that we’ve only lost one game, it’s pretty positive because there is so much, we can improve on.”
Evalds will get to play in front of the Castleford fans for the first time when they host Hull KR on Monday night and supporters are allowed back in English Super League grounds for the first time in 14 months.
With head coach Powell joining Warrington Wolves at the end of the season, Castleford hope to secure some silverware having reached the Challenge Cup semi-finals where they face Warrington for a place at Wembley.
“The ambition of everyone at the club is to be challenging,” added Evalds.
“We’ve got a great set of fans and that’s what they expect too.
“It is early doors but we have started pretty positively and got some wins but there is so much scope for improvement.
“There is a lot of motivation in the camp but to send Powelly off with a trophy, it’s everyone’s ambition inside the club.”
Ex-Hull FC coach Lee Radford takes over at Castleford at the end of the season and Evalds added: “I’m really excited but I’m focusing on this year because we’ve got a lot to achieve.
“Looking ahead, Radders has won back-to-back Challenge Cups when he was at Hull, so he comes in with a good pedigree.
“I have had a brief phone call with him so it’s exciting, but we’ve got a long road ahead of us this year.”
Radford is glad Halifax-born Evalds is on board.
“I really like what I’ve seen of him,” he said.
“He’s in contention at an international level as well so hopefully he can put his best foot forward for a spot in the World Cup squad.
“I can’t wait to work with him; I like what he’s about as a brave full-back and he is a real threat on plays in and around the ruck.
“I think he is getting better and developing even more on an edge, certainly offensively.”